Best Japanese Books
(Note: if the author is not Japanese, the book is not Japanese.)
1
by
4.02 of 5 stars 4.02 avg rating — 149,653 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
2
by
4.18 of 5 stars 4.18 avg rating — 120,395 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
3
by
4.12 of 5 stars 4.12 avg rating — 135,142 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
4
by
4.24 of 5 stars 4.24 avg rating — 31,873 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
5
by
4.15 of 5 stars 4.15 avg rating — 56,389 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
6
by
3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 98,094 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
7
by
3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 22,247 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
8
by
3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 13,008 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
9
by
3.66 of 5 stars 3.66 avg rating — 56,125 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
10
by
3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 53,825 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
11
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 46,253 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
12
by
3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 42,562 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
13
by
3.9 of 5 stars 3.90 avg rating — 9,840 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
14
by
4.02 of 5 stars 4.02 avg rating — 37,563 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
15
by
3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 8,533 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
16
by
3.69 of 5 stars 3.69 avg rating — 6,253 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
17
by
3.97 of 5 stars 3.97 avg rating — 7,365 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
18
by
3.65 of 5 stars 3.65 avg rating — 5,603 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
19
by
4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 5,056 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
20
by
3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 3,393 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
21
by
3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 20,132 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
22
by
3.83 of 5 stars 3.83 avg rating — 18,186 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
23
by
3.6 of 5 stars 3.60 avg rating — 8,268 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
24
by
3.9 of 5 stars 3.90 avg rating — 7,500 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
25
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 14,292 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
26
by
3.91 of 5 stars 3.91 avg rating — 6,161 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
27
by
3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 4,223 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
28
by
4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 3,289 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
29
by
3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 3,663 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
30
by
3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 5,464 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
31
by
3.81 of 5 stars 3.81 avg rating — 7,869 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
32
by
4.02 of 5 stars 4.02 avg rating — 4,180 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
33
by
3.68 of 5 stars 3.68 avg rating — 4,613 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
34
by
4.41 of 5 stars 4.41 avg rating — 8,249 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
35
by
3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 5,187 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
36
by
3.9 of 5 stars 3.90 avg rating — 20,900 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
37
by
4.16 of 5 stars 4.16 avg rating — 5,524 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
38
by
3.81 of 5 stars 3.81 avg rating — 3,781 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
39
by
4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 5,577 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
40
by
3.99 of 5 stars 3.99 avg rating — 3,180 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
41
by
3.89 of 5 stars 3.89 avg rating — 7,957 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
42
by
3.73 of 5 stars 3.73 avg rating — 4,593 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
43
by
3.39 of 5 stars 3.39 avg rating — 3,836 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
44
by
3.91 of 5 stars 3.91 avg rating — 12,560 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
45
by
3.52 of 5 stars 3.52 avg rating — 4,110 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
46
by
3.68 of 5 stars 3.68 avg rating — 2,378 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
47
by
3.63 of 5 stars 3.63 avg rating — 3,062 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
48
by
3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 2,635 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
49
by
3.75 of 5 stars 3.75 avg rating — 5,193 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
50
by
3.56 of 5 stars 3.56 avg rating — 4,876 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
51
by
3.32 of 5 stars 3.32 avg rating — 3,839 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
52
by
3.83 of 5 stars 3.83 avg rating — 2,059 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
53
by
3.83 of 5 stars 3.83 avg rating — 4,243 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
54
by
3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 8,937 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
55
by
4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 3,301 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
56
by
3.18 of 5 stars 3.18 avg rating — 2,520 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
57
by
3.74 of 5 stars 3.74 avg rating — 2,139 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
58
by
4.17 of 5 stars 4.17 avg rating — 2,392 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
59
by
3.47 of 5 stars 3.47 avg rating — 3,023 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
60
by
4.3 of 5 stars 4.30 avg rating — 11,127 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
61
by
3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 1,578 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
62
by
3.9 of 5 stars 3.90 avg rating — 1,500 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
63
by
3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 2,563 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
64
by
3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 1,751 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
65
by
3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 1,956 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
66
by
3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 1,945 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
67
by
3.6 of 5 stars 3.60 avg rating — 4,489 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
68
by
3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 1,903 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
69
by
3.91 of 5 stars 3.91 avg rating — 815 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
70
by
4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 14,246 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
71
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 920 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
72
by
3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 268 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
73
by
3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 43,024 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
74
by
3.83 of 5 stars 3.83 avg rating — 750 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
75
by
4.24 of 5 stars 4.24 avg rating — 4,757 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
76
by
3.66 of 5 stars 3.66 avg rating — 1,723 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
77
by
3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 708 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
78
by
3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 636 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
79
by
4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 1,736 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
80
by
3.59 of 5 stars 3.59 avg rating — 1,715 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
81
by
3.67 of 5 stars 3.67 avg rating — 1,709 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
82
by
3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 994 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
83
by
4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 1,518 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
84
by
4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 357 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
84
by
3.73 of 5 stars 3.73 avg rating — 2,009 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
86
by
3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 1,509 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
87
by
3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 951 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
88
by
3.91 of 5 stars 3.91 avg rating — 1,440 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
89
by
3.97 of 5 stars 3.97 avg rating — 2,275 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
90
by
3.63 of 5 stars 3.63 avg rating — 3,462 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
91
by
4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 1,334 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
92
by
4.16 of 5 stars 4.16 avg rating — 974 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
93
by
4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 1,627 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
94
by
3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 1,131 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
95
by
3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 1,770 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
96
by
3.58 of 5 stars 3.58 avg rating — 1,053 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
97
by
3.99 of 5 stars 3.99 avg rating — 902 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
98
by
3.67 of 5 stars 3.67 avg rating — 630 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
99
by
3.71 of 5 stars 3.71 avg rating — 780 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
100
by
4.37 of 5 stars 4.37 avg rating — 464 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
flag this list (?)
452 books · 2,033 voters · list created June 21st, 2008 by Mitu (votes) .
844 likes · Like
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Mitu 89 books
3 friends
Jessica 2230 books
103 friends
Holly 424 books
91 friends
Greyweather 2431 books
59 friends
Joel 96 books
2 friends
Zoe 421 books
42 friends
Jenn 1894 books
37 friends
Karen 905 books
58 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-50 of 72) (72 new)


message 1: by Mofo (new)

Mofo Why isn't Battle Royale on this list?


message 2: by Jenni (new)

Jenni If The Unconsoled is on this list, then Never Let Me Goshould be on it.


message 3: by Russell (new)

Russell kazuo ishiguro writes in english.


message 4: by Jenni (new)

Jenni Russell wrote: "kazuo ishiguro writes in english."

Correct, but The Unconsoled is on this list, and it is written by Ishiguro. :)


message 5: by John (new)

John Kerrison Mofo wrote: "Why isn't Battle Royale on this list? "

It is. 5th one down.


message 6: by Nelliel (new)

Nelliel The Last Concubine by Leslie Downer...


message 7: by Nozomi (new)

Nozomi The Tale of Genji needs to be on this list.


message 8: by Jenni (new)

Jenni Nozomi wrote: "The Tale of Genji needs to be on this list."

Agreed!



message 9: by Paul (new)

Paul JB Kazuo Ishiguro not only writes in English, he IS English. 'The Unconsoled' shouldn't be on this list. It's not even set in Japan.


message 10: by Bill (new)

Bill Johnston The Mishima novel I've re-read the most (Runaway Horses) isn't on this list, either.


message 11: by Dawn (new)

Dawn "Shogun" isn't a Japanese book, but I voted for it anyway---great historical novel!


message 12: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Plum Wine By Angela Davis?


message 13: by dthtrtr (new)

dthtrtr I voted on Birthday :)
Lemon Heart was heart shattering...


message 14: by Alex (last edited Jul 19, 2010 04:36AM) (new)

Alex Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro deleted. (not a Japanese book)

see Paul's comments above.

*Also have deleted Memoirs of a Geisha and another Kazuo Ishiguro book "Nocturnals etc.."

Same reason - Not Japanese. Geisha might be about Japan but it wasn't first written in Japanese or by a Japanese person.


message 15: by Yas (new)

Yas Actually Ishiguro was born in Japan so I think that makes him Japanese regardless of which language he writes in.


message 16: by Paul (new)

Paul JB (RESURRECTS THREAD)

Yas, you are entirely correct that he was born in Japan, and I believe he still holds Japanese citizenship. But he moved from Nagasaki when he was 5, and he has talked extensively in interviews about his irritation at lazy lit-critics trying to peg his style as Japanese. When he does write about Japan, such as in his first two novels, it is always in a very self-consciously imaginary fashion. So even though you may lay some fair claim to his Japanese ethnicity, the books themselves don't really belong on this list in my humble opinion.


message 17: by Alex (new)

Alex I agree Paul and while Ishiguro has Japanese heritage his books are written in English which don't make them "Japanese" books even if they are about Japan. (still haven't read any of them yet)


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Hmmm Geisha, a life by Mineko Iwasaki isn't here either.


message 20: by christokristo (new)

christokristo Ishiguro was born in Japan but move to england while he was 6 or 7 and he already have British citizenship. I think his works should not on be the lists


message 21: by Kirei (new)

Kirei He became a British citizen when he was 22 years old. Since he is both British and Japanese, he should be included.


message 22: by Trang (new)

Trang Le Kirei wrote: "He became a British citizen when he was 22 years old. Since he is both British and Japanese, he should be included."

How can his books be included when he was English bred, identifies more with Britain and his books are not concerned about Japan?


message 23: by Livy (new)

Livy just out of curiosity, what is Catcher in the Rye doing on this list?


message 24: by Fincalian (new)

Fincalian And what is I was Told There'd be Cake doing on here?


message 25: by Michael (last edited Nov 08, 2011 03:00PM) (new)

Michael Bacon Deleted "Never Let Me Go," "I Was Told There'd Be Cake," and "Catcher in the Rye." In each case, the author is not Japanese, the book was written in English, and the subject matter is not related to Japan. Nothing about these books are Japanese, so they are inappropriate to this list.


message 26: by David (new)

David Incredible list! I have read several of these and saved even more to my "to read" list! I added several more that I thought might belong on this list including:

So Sad to Fall in Battle
Something Like an Autobiography
20th Century Boys
Battle Angel Alita
Japan Atlas
Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams
Mishima's Sword
The Rising Sun
A Modern History of Japan
A Hundred Years of Japanese Film
Dreaming Pachinko

The last five on the list are on Japan but not by Japanese authors so not sure which of those would fit best on this list (please delete if you feel necessary, it will not offend me). I own all those books and they are all really good. Great list!


message 27: by Ian (new)

Ian Wold Mofo wrote: "Why isn't Battle Royale on this list? "

Because it is a list of "the best" Japanese books. Battle Royale is a classic and a great alternative to Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies. I was going to write how it should not be considered "the best" but as I am writing my thoughts I have started to see your point. I wouldn't put it on this list for its amateur craftsmanship and pulpy violence. But I wouldn't object if you put Battle Royale on the list.


message 28: by Alex (new)

Alex Battle Royale is on the list, it's in 4th place and I would hardly call it an alternative to Hunger Games. Hunger Games pretty much ripped off Battle Royale, made it more YA and gave it a female lead to get more readers and it worked.


message 29: by Michael (new)

Michael Bacon Fully agree with Alex.


message 30: by Masanaka (new)

Masanaka Takashima Thank you for the wonderful list! I would like you to include these next time: "Lonely Hearts Killer" by Tomoyuki Hoshino; "The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P" by Rieko Matsuura; "The Doctor's Wife" by Sawako Ariyoshi


message 31: by Michael (new)

Michael Bacon Masanaka,

Click "add books to this list" at the top of the page and then type in those three books. The list is made by everyone.


message 32: by Masanaka (new)

Masanaka Takashima Hi Michael, thank you for letting me know how this space grow. I have just added the books above and more. Cheers.


message 33: by Michael (new)

Michael Bacon No problem, Masanaka.


message 34: by Sizilien (new)

Sizilien I love "The Summer of the Ubume".


message 35: by GlenK (new)

GlenK Didn't see The Tattoo Murder Case on the list. Excellent locked-room mystery set in post-WWII Tokyo.


message 36: by Matīss (new)

Matīss Livy wrote: "just out of curiosity, what is Catcher in the Rye doing on this list?"

I wonder about it, too. And so many votes... What does that mean?


message 37: by Michael (new)

Michael Bacon Matīss wrote: "Livy wrote: "just out of curiosity, what is Catcher in the Rye doing on this list?"

I wonder about it, too. And so many votes... What does that mean?"


I wonder what that means too. I deleted it... again.


message 38: by Mark (last edited Feb 01, 2013 11:49PM) (new)

Mark It is interesting that "Across The Nightingale Floor" is on the list. Although the "Tales of the Otori" books are set in a place fairly closely resembling feudal Japan, they are actually set in a fictional island nation, not any real place in Japan.


message 39: by Michael (last edited Feb 03, 2013 08:31PM) (new)

Michael Bacon Mark wrote: "It is interesting that "Across The Nightingale Floor" is on the list. Although the "Tales of the Otori" books are set in a place fairly closely resembling feudal Japan, they are actually set in a f..."

Where the books take place is irrelevant. The author is not Japanese though, so I'll remove the book.


message 40: by Mark (new)

Mark Oh, OK. Though it was just a comment.


message 41: by Michael (new)

Michael Bacon Yep, just clarifying how the list works! Someone managed to remove the book before I got to it. Yay!


message 43: by Michael (new)

Michael Bacon Thanks, Anna!


message 44: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Woodfine This seems a great list, and just what im looking for. Il be honest, ive only really read Haruki Murakami, but want to delve further into Japanese literature. Do any of you guys have any recommendations for the next books to read?


message 45: by Michael (new)

Michael Bacon The strange otherworldiness of Kpbo Abe's The Box Man might be a fitting follow-up to Murakami.


message 46: by Evan (new)

Evan Lavine Great List!


message 47: by Evan (new)

Evan Lavine Not sure if I saw Revenge by Yoko Ogawa. Absolutely love that quiet little book of short stories that roll up on you in the most hauntingly beautiful way!


message 48: by Booklovinglady (last edited Apr 11, 2013 06:55AM) (new)

Booklovinglady The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (no. 104) is not a Japanese book. The story may be set in Japan (for the most part, anyway) but the author, David Mitchell, is British (Merseyside) and lives in Europe. Therefore, the book has been deleted.


message 49: by Wong (new)

Wong Casandra Booklovinglady wrote: "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (no. 104) is not a Japanese book. The story may be set in Japan (for the most part, anyway) but the author, David Mitchell, is British (Merseyside) and lives i..."


Agreed. Good book though.


message 50: by Wong (new)

Wong Casandra Evan wrote: "Not sure if I saw Revenge by Yoko Ogawa. Absolutely love that quiet little book of short stories that roll up on you in the most hauntingly beautiful way!"

I particularly liked the story about the girl who was in love with her diver stepbrother (the main story, unsurprisingly). And the Professor and Housekeeper novel she wrote was a gem too.

Didn't like Hotel Iris though.


« previous 1
back to top



Anyone can add books to this list.